Sporting initiatives aimed at achieving 'greater' wellbeing and participation in young people: exploring intersections and conflicts

Wellard, I. (2012) Sporting initiatives aimed at achieving 'greater' wellbeing and participation in young people: exploring intersections and conflicts. In: LSA 2012, Leisure, Living Learning, 17th-19th July 2012, Edinburgh.

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Encouraging young people to take part in sport and physical activity is generally considered a worthwhile endeavour and a means to achieve greater wellbeing. National initiatives which attempt to coordinate activities throughout schools are often instigated through government directives with large scale investments from both public and private sectors. It is no surprise that with such high stakes, there is an expectation to achieve the 'right' outcomes.

This paper draws upon data gathered during a series of case study visits to schools as part of a larger evaluation of the government sponsored Change 4 Life School Sports Club programme implemented in England in 2010. The programme was aimed at 'non-sporty' young people and offered schools assistance with running one of seven specific sports. In particular, the focus for this paper will be a boccia session aimed at young people with a range of physical and learning disabilities. Observations were made during the sessions and interviews were conducted with the coordinators and participants. The intention is to highlight subjective experiences as a significant factor in the formulation of what is considered a worthwhile or pleasurable leisure experience (Wellard 2012) and, importantly, one that is incorporated into regular practice.

There is still confusion about what wellbeing actually means and often claims are made in the 'interests' of others. In most cases, these are uncritical adult visions of what physical activity for young people 'should look like'. These conflicting understandings of what is 'good' for young people have direct impact upon the ways in which young people (and adults) are able to experience their bodies and explore leisure spaces.

References: Wellard, I. (2012) Body Reflexive Pleasures: exploring bodily experiences within the context of sport and physical activity, Sport, Education and Society. Vol 17 (1).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706 Sports psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV0706.5 Sports sociology
Divisions: pre Nov-2014 > Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > SPEAR
Depositing User: Dr Ian Wellard
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2012 08:27
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2014 14:10

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00